Thursday, 5 September 2013

Nicki's Quilt

Yesterday, (only yesterday!), I mentioned that I had been asked to make a quilt for a very lovely lady I had cyber-met through Instagram.  It was perfect timing as I was off to the Festival of Quilts and so Nicki gave me a great excuse for some fabric shopping.  I'm sure any of you crafters out there will agree with me that whatever project you start on and however much fabric you have, there aways seems to be something else you just need!

As I always do when somebody asks me to make a quilt for them, I ran through the possible designs and fabric options with Nicki.  I think the original brief was white with pink and red and Nicki liked the idea of different sized squares for a classic, vintage-styled patchwork quilt.  I'd had the benefit of peeping into Nicki's world via Instagram which helped me understand her style a little better.  I don't think she'll mind me sharing that she lives in a very pretty cottage in the country and has a penchant for the colour ivory with indeed pink and red, and is a fan of Cabbages and Roses style.  I had seen in a few shots, a vintage eidy which Nicki has and loves.  It has a pale background with those pinky red flowers.  When I asked Nicki if this was the sort of thing she'd have in mind for her quilt, rather than blocks of colour, she said yes.  So far, so good.

Back from the Festival, I couldn't wait to get at all those yummy fabrics and start adding to them from my stash.  This was my initial selection.  Most stayed, a few went.

Nicki agreed that it would be nice to add in some vintage.  No problem because I just happen to have a little bit of that, too.

I set to with the rotary cutter and the next day, was happily piecing blocks together.  That's my favourite bit of the quilt making process.  I could happily make tops all day long!  I rigged up my makeshift design board in the guest room and was pleased with how the top started to come together.  As you can see, it was a little different in style for me, away from my usual exuberant colour palette I guess.  That was great, nice to be challenged and exercise the grey matter a little every now and then.

And so the quilt top and I proceeded up the stairs to my quilting lair and we got on with making the quilt sandwich.  As you can see, I use a table tennis table because making so many quilts and basting them on hard wooden floors was no good for my back.  Ouch.

Firing up the beast, I got quilting, just simply, outlining all the seam lines a quarter inch either side.  I'm not a fan of loads of swirly quilting and luckily, Nicki agreed, too.

After an early morning start, the quilting was finished and I found, to my delight, that the Munchkin (on Summer Holidays) had his uses.  De-pinning.  Off I went downstairs for a very late breakfast.  Well, I suppose it was an early lunch?

So after all the hard work, I could look forward to sitting down with my feet up and hand sewing the binding.  Somebody on Instagram asked me why I hand sew it.  Well, it's traditional to do it that way and although some people now machine sew it, I am not a fan and I think you can't beat the look of a hand-stitched binding.  After all those hours selecting fabric, cutting, piecing, sandwiching and quilting, I'm not going to mind four hours hand sewing the binding.  We watched Carrie's War, and very enjoyable it was, too!

Oooh, might I digress a little?  Whilst we were away in the hols, we went to a sort of collectors'/flea market in Bakewell.  I found a pretty old tin there, £4, and home it came.  It was the perfect size to house a little "on-the-go" sewing kit.  I gave it a clean and lined it with some pretty scented Cath K drawer liners.  I added a few pretty paper bits to the lid (the main image copied from the original Make Do and Mend wartime pamphlet).  Tidy.

And so it was finished and the lovely Summer weather we've enjoyed, afforded me an immediate washing line opportunity.

I'm really pleased with how this quilt turned out and well, I wouldn't have minded hanging onto it!

It was lovely to make because I could post progress pictures on Instagram as I went along and be bolstered by the oohs and aahs of Nicki and her friends who know her taste better than I do.

Nicki didn't have a name in mind for the quilt and for some reason, "Tranquil Rose Garden" came to me.  I think it's a very restful quilt to look at, joyfully soft and cosy to cuddle up in and well, it's definitely rosy!

I bundled it up and sent it on its way to Nicki.

It's a quilt I'll remember for being a joy to make and in turn, making me new friends out there in the big wide world.  It's not so big after all, it seems.

(Just to say, if you fancy a go at patchwork and quilting yourself, and are able to get to South London, the marvellous Stag and Bow have just released their latest workshop timetable and yours truly will be teaching P&Q over three consecutive Tuesday evenings in October.  Ooh, that's next month.  Exciting!)


  1. Great to see those fabrics made up! Very nice indeed. I'm with you 100% on the hand sewn edging- just makes all the difference to a project.However well done machine sewn binding,it just doesn't come near to the look of hand sewn.

  2. Oh, wow. How beautiful, Hen. As always, you've made a masterpiece. I can just imagine Nicki's home and her style from your description and I know this quilt will be gorgeous there.

  3. You did a wonderful job!!! Love it !!!!

  4. The quilt is beautiful. You are so clever... I am dying to have a go, have bought some books, read lots of things and am still too scared to have a go... Thank you for sharing.
    Kim M

  5. Pretty! Like being in a rose garden:)

    Jenn @JennsCraftyWorld

  6. Another masterpiece you've produced! Lucky Nicki! Does she blog? It would be fun to know where her cottage is. I'm working on a crochet blanket for my youngest grandson.. bright yellow, green and blue cotton. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  7. I L-O-V-E this quilt. It's gorgeous!


  9. A really beautiful quilt and interesting to see how it came together with your thought processes. Loving your new little "on the go" sewing tin. Much nicer than my small clear plastic tub. I am inspired to go and hunt out something far more imaginative to use!

  10. Hen, how beautifully you've fulfilled the rosy quilt commission.

    Thank you for the info re your October schedule at Stag and Bow. I've made a note and will try to remember to email you about where I might be in October.


  11. Great job! And the name is perfect!!!!

  12. Hi There Hen,Tranquil Rose Garden indeed!!!Perfectly named!!!It's a real WOW quilt!!!Nicky,I am so jealous!!!!
    Have a great day!!!

  13. Beautiful quilt Hen. I am with you on the binding. Hand stitching them really is the best and neatest way.

  14. Oh Hen I'm just sitting here a little speechless having swooned over the beautiful quilt. Oh my!!! You are one crafty goddess and I love what you did with they quilt. I also love your bench in your garden it is so romantic under that tree with the gorgeous crochet blanket, love!! How long did it take you to so this quilt if I may ask? Also such a pity we live in the north as I would be there in a flash to learn a little from your truly. Xoxo

  15. The quilt is just beautiful! I love the fabrics and the "softness" of it....Nicki is one lucky gal!

  16. Oh Henhouse I love your combinations of color and pattern. How pretty is this quilt. I hope the eventual owner loves it as much as I think they will.

  17. Such a lovely quilt that I'm sure will be very much treasured by lucky Nicky; and as it looks like Autumn is starting to set in, will no doubt come in very handy.

    P.S. I'm all for child-labour too ;-)!

  18. Its absolutely beautiful and the naming was spot on.

  19. Gorgeous quilt, lucky Nicki :)

  20. Hen this quilt is just simply divine - would love to have one of these - my dream would be to be able to make one of my own - at the moment I think it would be easier to fly to the moon by myself! You are so so talented Hen and I do love your work, just wish I could come to your classes - maybe I can fit in a Saturday class before Christmas. Wearing my special brooch every day now, just love it. A great post, am sure the Nicki will be over the moon with her lovely quilt, I know I would be.
    Lots of love as always

  21. Absolutely stunning, I love the fabrics you've put together, they gel perfectly. I can't think of a better name for it either. I do wish there wasn't so many miles between our counties like Hannahpat I'm oop north I would love to attend a class. In fact you were recently in my neck of the woods when you came up to the Peak District. Bakewell, Matlock are two of my favourite haunts, I'm only in Chesterfield. :0) at that time though we were away at our little bolt hole in Lincolnshire.

    Thank you for sharing, Nicki will be over the moon with her quilt I'm positive, who wouldn't be.

    Peg xx

  22. If Nicki decides she doesn't like this gorgeous quilt, may I be next in line?! Beautifully made. Love the tin too - perfect for its new purpose!

  23. Love the quilt, very me as well, I spotted some fabrics that I have in my stash! I enjoy your blogs very much and find your quilt making quite inspirational!

    Linda x

  24. So beautiful and love all the gorgeous prints!! You made it so quickly, too!! It will definitely be treasured!! xo Heather

  25. I love this quilt. Makes me want to go fabric shopping as soon as possible. Nikki is truly a fortunate lady to receive this beauty.

  26. That is a beautiful quilt Hen, the colours are perfect.

    Julie and Poppy Q

  27. Beautiful as always Hen - are those hair clips that you use when quilting? Clever stuff
    Best wishes

  28. Eeeek! A whole post all about the making of my lovely quilt! I have printed it off as a keepsake.

    I am still as in love with it as I was when it arrived a fortnight ago. You made it so quickly and met the brief perfectly. I am delighted to own a henhouse piece so thank you for taking on my commission.

    Was so lovely to finally meet you yesterday and if you ever fancy tea, sewing and a natter together let me know and I'll be there in a flash!

    Nicki xx

  29. Hen, this quilt really is absolutely beautiful.
    So much time and patience has obviously gone into making it, and a well done to The Munchkin for de-pinning!!!
    Linda O xxx

  30. Beautiful work and a stunning end result...... I love the fact that blogging/ instagram introduces you to like minded lovely people x

  31. Just beautiful, Nicki is a very lucky lady indeed to won this masterpiece!!


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